Today it is difficult to satisfy the personnel hunger of domestic gaming companies. Their global success requires significant scaling, which is impossible if only specialists from game dev are involved.
“This happened due to the fact that there is virtually no specialized education in the region (with the exception of the strongest school of programmers),” explains Yuri Krasilnikov, Vice president of Belka Games for development.
At the same time, how many game developers there are in Russia is an open question. Studies on the size of the Russian gaming industry have not been conducted before. You can only make rough estimates based on related research.
For example, Google, in its joint work with the RAEC and the Higher School of Economics, predicted that the number of all mobile developers in Russia by the end of 2021 would be 191 thousand people.
You can try to take this figure as a control and work with it. An accurate forecast will not work, but there will be an understanding of approximate orders. Just for this, two more fundamental points should be kept in mind.
The first. The number and number of companies engaged in console and PC games in Russia is relatively small relative to mobile (the situation may change in the coming years, but so far this is the case).
Second. The distribution of gaming and non-gaming companies in the domestic mobile is unknown. At the same time, most likely, gaming is much less (Google’s assessment also included mobile web specialists).
So it turns out that an approximate estimate of the number of domestic game developers will be the following: up to 30-40 thousand people, including programmers, artists, designers, and other specialists.
Most likely, this figure is less. For comparison, in the UK, one of the largest gaming industries of the Old World, a few years ago there were 2000 game studios, whose total staff did not exceed 20 thousand people.
Be that as it may, no matter what figure we are talking about, the demand in Russia (and in the CIS as a whole, between the countries of which Russian-speaking developers actively roam) for specialists remains at a consistently high level. On the services dedicated to game personnel, there are constantly open around two to three thousand vacancies. The figure varies depending on the time of year, but only slightly. Studios also regularly require more and more employees.
“In 3 years our company has grown in the number of people 10 times! In November 2017, we had 30-35 people, today there are already more than 340. That is, it is 10 new employees per month,” Krasilnikov explains using the example of Belka Games. “And we continue to grow and develop. Only now we have more than 20 vacancies open. And we are closing everything promptly. But new ones are constantly appearing: for new projects, for the support and growth of already well-performing games.”
On click, the growth is not satisfied. This forces companies not to limit themselves to a market pool of specialists, but to raise new specialists independently.
Usually they are raised from young self-taught girls who purposefully come to a particular studio with a great desire to make games after school or just after graduating from university. As a rule, they have only a theoretical background.
But our interlocutors noted that it is impossible to be limited only to them, to wait exclusively for the young. It is important to look at the situation more broadly, to involve intelligent and responsible employees from other areas in the industry.
“Do not forget about the layer of experienced specialists working in related IT industries, where their main fear is the inability to retrain as a game developer, for example, from the web,” says Maria Pestrikova, managing partner of Kefir.
But in fact, it can go far beyond working with people from IT, not only about programmers and marketers from non-gaming companies. Some gaming companies today believe that in the end, it is not so important who studied for whom and where he worked.
“Each employee, in accordance with their position, brings their own unique perspective to each project and the company as a whole. Work experience in non-gaming areas may well be even more relevant in workflows than it may seem at first glance,” says Elena Maslennikova, Head of Business Development at Nexters. – “But, as always, the main role is played by love and interest in what you do. If you like game dev and you really like games, the probability of getting into the industry increases many times. We pay a lot of attention to soft skills in our company. We can always pull a person up with hard skills, but it’s much more difficult to do it with soft skills.”
And the two-day online conference Welcome to GameDev, which will be held on February 24-25 with the participation of Google, Kefir, Belka Games and Nexters, is dedicated to how to get into the gaming industry, including having already had experience in a completely different field.
The organizing companies are confident that it is working with such personnel that will improve the situation on the domestic market. And she’s already improving. Many employees of the same Nexters got into game dev from completely unexpected areas.
“We have an artist who previously worked as a lawyer, a game designer from neurosurgery, a UA manager – a former physiologist scientist. And there are dozens of such examples! It’s cool, it proves that it’s never too late to join the gaming industry,” says Maslennikova.
To learn more about the conference and register to participate in it, follow this link.